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by Ronald A. Rowe | November 10th, 2010 | Elementary

…the planet, not the cartoon dog.

My four-year-old son’s current favorite program is Olivia. It’s a cute little show about a cute little pig who goes to school and plays with her friends and generally does nothing extraordinary – for a talking pig, that is. But the other night, the show really caught my attention when Olivia learned that Neptune is the planet farthest from the sun in our solar system.

I’m not a card carrying member of the Pluto-Should-Be-A-Planet Society or anything, but it still catches me wrong every time I hear that Pluto is not a planet. Personally, I think that the scientists who de-plantized Pluto a few years back should have rewritten the definition of a planet instead of rewriting the citizenship of our solar system.

But I grew up knowing that Pluto was a planet and I’ll always count it as a planet because I’m just that stubborn. Lex, the four-year-old, will learn that Pluto isn’t a planet and that’s just the way it will always be for him and the rest of his generation and that’s that.

But what about Max, the nine year old? He learned that Pluto was a planet, then it was a dwarf planet, and now it is just a little ball of rock and ice that isn’t even worthy of mention on Olivia. He’s got to grow up in the inbetween, with a little brother denying Pluto’s planethood and a dad who staunchly defends it.

There’s always some new idea that rewrites what we’ve always been taught. Scientists continue to age the universe a few billion years at a clip in order to conform reality to their ideas. The relative merits of Christopher Columbus, Native Americans, and the Founding Fathers have been re-imagined over time. Now poor Pluto is the latest victim. Fourth graders and up may be confused about it, but the under 8 crowd will never know that the little ice ball was once considered a real planet.

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